Myanmar coup: 15,000 people crossed border with India, UN chief says

It is estimated that more than 15,000 people from Myanmar have crossed the border with India since the February 1 military coup, UN chief Antonio Guterres told the General Assembly in a statement. report that armed clashes erupted mainly in regions and states along the borders. with Thailand, China and India and are concerned about the regional implications of the crisis.

Guterres, in his report “Situation of Human Rights of Rohingya Muslims and Other Minorities in Myanmar,” said that before February 1, there were around 336,000 displaced people in conflict-affected areas across Myanmar.

“Since that date, more than 220,000 people have been internally displaced by the escalation of conflict and violence. In addition, over 15,000 people are estimated to have crossed the Indian border. Another 7,000 people have entered Thailand, all of whom have returned and remain internally displaced in Myanmar, ”the Secretary-General said in the report, which covers the period from August 15, 2020 to August 14, 2021.

Myanmar shares an unfenced and porous land border over 1,600 km long with India as well as a maritime border in the Bay of Bengal. Four northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram share the international border with Myanmar.

Guterres said in the report that since February tensions have increased across the country, including in areas covered by the 2015 national ceasefire agreement and where there was relative peace before February 1. , when the Burmese army seized power and detained prominent political figures, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.

“Mainly in states and regions along the borders with Thailand, China and India, armed clashes have erupted between the Tatmadaw, armed ethnic organizations and the newly formed civilian people’s defense forces, raising concerns over the regional implications of the crisis and the potential for a large-scale armed conflict, ”the report says.

The UN chief notes in the report that the Rohingya continue to undertake risky journeys across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

“In June, a boat carrying dozens of Rohingya refugees reached Aceh, Indonesia, after leaving Bangladesh or Myanmar. An engine failure caused it to drift for several months in the Andaman Sea, leading to the deaths of some refugees. Another boat was rescued by the Indian Coast Guard in February, ”he said.

This file photo shows a wooden boat carrying suspected Rohingya migrants detained in Malaysian territorial waters off the island of Langkawi, Malaysia. (Malaysian Maritime Law Enforcement Agency via AP)

The report adds that the brutality of the security forces against those opposed to the military takeover and the self-proclaimed State Administrative Council, including those participating in the civil disobedience movement, is widespread.

“Those who express their opposition to the army and join the democratic movements, as well as their relatives and associates, have been victims of assassinations and arbitrary detentions, disappearances, night raids, intimidation and torture,” he said. he declared.

There have also been numerous reports of sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated by the security forces as well as numerous reports of acts of violence targeting the security forces, such as the killing of people suspected of collaborating with the military.

“The Secretary-General has called for maximum restraint from all parties,” the report said.

Guterres said he has repeatedly called on the military to respect the will of the people, to refrain from violence and repression and to act in the best interests of peace and stability in the country. .

The UN Security Council has expressed deep concern over the arbitrary detention of members of the government, including President Win Myint, State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi and others, and called for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained, while condemning the ongoing violence.

Suu Kyi's actions are Burmese civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (To file)

“Neighboring countries could take advantage of their influence over the military and call on it to respect the will of the people and to act in the best interests of peace and stability in the country and the region,” he said. -he declares.

Guterres expressed concern that Myanmar faces a prolonged period of insecurity and instability and that it is important that concerted efforts be made among national, regional and international actors to enable a full regime. civil in accordance with the will of the people.

“The risk of large-scale armed conflict requires a collective approach to avert a multidimensional disaster in the heart of Southeast Asia and beyond,” he said.

“Serious humanitarian implications, including a rapid deterioration in food security, increased mass displacement and a weakened public health system, exacerbated by a new wave of COVID-19 infections, require a coordinated approach in complementarity with regional players, ”said Guterres.

He said the United Nations will focus its efforts on strengthening a coherent system-wide approach to provide humanitarian and life-saving assistance to support the people of Myanmar and help prevent further regional ramifications.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said last week that more than 1,120 people had been killed since the coup and that military authorities had also arrested more than 8,000 people. , including elected officials, protesters and journalists during arrests and raids.

At least 120 people are believed to have died in detention and some have been denied access to medical care, she said.